Annal: 1991 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Science & Technology

Results of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in the year 1991.

Book:The Truth About Chernobyl

The Truth About Chernobyl

Grigori Medvedev

An exciting minute-by-minute account by a leading Soviet nuclear physicist of the world’s largest nuclear disaster and coverup—Chernobyl, April 26, 1986. Grigori Medvedev was a chief engineer at Chernobyl during the 1970s.

Book:The Ascent of Mind

The Ascent of Mind: Ice Age Climates and the Evolution of Intelligence

William H. Calvin

Daniel C. Dennet’s description of this scientist’s travelogue: “How did the mind evolve? It takes a scientist of extraordinary breadth who is also a master storyteller to sketch the boundaries of this mega-narrative, and William Calvin has once again given us a feast of new perspectives, enriching the vision of our future as much as our past.”

Book:Lonely Hearts of the Cosmos

Lonely Hearts of the Cosmos: The Story of the Scientific Quest for the Secret of the Universe

Dennis Overbye

In southern California, nearly a half-century ago, a small band of researchers-equipped with a new 200-inch telescope and a faith born of scientific optimism-embarked on the greatest intellectual adventure in the history of humankind: the search for the origin and fate of the universe. Their quest would eventually engulf all of physics and astronomy, leading not only to the discovery of quasars, black holes, and shadow matter but also to fame, controversy, and Nobel Prizes. Lonely Hearts of the Cosmos tells the story of the men and women who have taken eternity on their shoulders and stormed nature in search of answers to the deepest questions we know to ask.

Book:The Man Who Knew Infinity

The Man Who Knew Infinity: A Life of the Genius Ramanujan

Robert Kanigel

With a passion for detail, Robert Kanigel takes us from to the slums of Madras to the courts of Cambridge University where Srinivasa Ramanujan, a young unschooled Indian clerk, tested his brilliant theories alongside G.H. Hardy, the great English mathematician. Ramanujan died at the age of thirty-two, but he left behind a magical and inspired legacy that is still being plumbed for its secrets today.

Book:Walking With the Great Apes

Walking With the Great Apes: Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, Biruté Galdikas

Sy Montgomery

Here is the story of three gifted women trained by the famed Louis Leakey. This book, “a sensitive and revealing contribution to the legend of a unique sisterhood” (Chicago Tribune), tells of three women who each gave her mature life to the love, study, and defense of another primate species.

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